Saturday 23 June 2018

Day 68 To Ancahuasi

June 7th, 2018

Very cold overnight, sunny and warm once sun was up once more

I leave the hostel early just as schoolchildren are arriving at the adjacent school. Another day of pushing is ahead of me and I hope that I can reach the top most point before it either gets dark or before I get too tired. May and June have been extremely tough on me and I am getting fatigued. I still feel happy though and every day my feet are improving. The only long lasting blister is on the heel of my left foot and, although the big toe nails are black, there is very little pus from them now.

Once out the village I see a few hummingbirds that chase each other around. I desperately try to see the undertail but cannot so cannot assign them to species. I continue up a road that seems steeper than the usual and each miles seems to take forever. A coach stops and the driver asks me whether I want to put the bike in the luggage space. Incredible that this has happened so often.
After pushing for around ten miles or so I come around a corner to see masses of smashed cola bottles strewn over the road. To one side a large cola lorry, with canvas sides has had part of its cargo fall out and the road is being swept of the debris. Piles of broken open plastic bottles of Inca cola are left in ditches on both sides of the road and I wonder how long before these are cleared up.

Further up the road I come across an area where the hillside is being removed. A digger is at the top of a huge white cliff and is sending down cascades of rocks to another one far below. Here the rocks are being scooped up and then dumped over the road edge. How someone can work at such a height in such a precarious place is incredible to me and fascinating to watch.

A couple of kilometres further and a car stops and a lady comes out to ask whether I want a lift to the top. On hearing me say “no thanks,” she gives me some nuts that I don't recognise in a bag before driving on.

Early afternoon and I am amazed when I come to the top point of the road. A long descent follows that goes through a toll gate and I reach the village of Andahuasi. Finding a hostel with a couple who are absolutely delightful, I head off down a dirt track to bird the rest of the day away. A Cinereous Harrier flies almost over me and a superb Aplomado Falcon is on a pylon nearby. Puna Ibis are feeding in a field and the usual Rufous-collared Sparrows are feeding in old maize fields. I search around some hedgerows and see a beautiful Chestnut-fronted Mountain Finch making it seem like I am destined to get one new bird for the Green birding Year list every day.

Back at the hostel I am greeted with a free meal of omelette, fried potato chunks and American-style pancakes! The kindness of strangers.

Green Year list : 214 birds average new birds to list per day : 3.15 birds

Distance walked, pushed and cycled : 20.80 miles

elevation : up 5,313 feet, down 2,234 feet

altitude : 11,417 feet (high point during day - 12,228 feet) 

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